Laws and regulations

  • DHS limits employees outside activities

    Last week DHS announced that it was considering a policy that would limit the outside activities of its federal employees

  • Calif. Allows warrantless searches of cell phones

    California Governor Jerry Brown has vetoed a bill which aimed to prohibit California police from conducting warrantless searches of the cell phones of people under arrest

  • Judge rules parts of Patriot Act unconstitutional

    U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken ruled that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, as amended by the Patriot Act, now permits surveillance and searches without satisfying the probable cause requirements of the Fourth Amendment; “For over 200 years, this Nation has adhered to the rule of law — with unparalleled success. A shift to a Nation based on extra-constitutional authority is prohibited, as well as ill-advised,” she wrote

  • Sharp rise in number of holders of security clearances

    As of 1 October 2010, the number of Americans holding security clearances was 4,266,091; of those, 1,419,051 federal employees and contractors hold Top Secret clearances

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  • FDA unveils new outbreak response network

    Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration unveiled its new streamlined approach for responding to foodborne illness outbreaks; under the “CORE” Network, the FDA Coordinated Outbreak Response and Evaluation Network, the FDA will bring together multidisciplinary teams consisting of epidemiologists, veterinarians, microbiologists, environmental health specialists, emergency coordinators, and risk communications specialists

  • Supreme Court to rule on age of "Big Brother" surveillance

    This November the Supreme Court is gearing up to hear a landmark case which will decide how far law enforcement agencies can pry into an individual’s private life; federal judges argue that the use of GPS surveillance by law enforcement is an “Orwellian intrusion” into private life and violate the Fourth Amendment; meanwhile police say GPS tracking is simply a more efficient way to tail a suspect’s car or track their movements, things they can currently do without a warrant

  • Congress should permanently authorize chemical security bill

    Calvin Dooley, president and CEO of the American Chemistry Council and a former U.S. Congressman, discusses the efforts to date of the chemical industry to secure its facilities, the need for Congress permanently to authorize a regulatory regime, and the fallacies of a one-size fits all approach to chemical security

  • Courts uphold rights of citizens to record police in action

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston, in a unanimous decision that many see as a victory for the First Amendment, has recently upheld the right of an attorney to sue police after the police arrested him for using his cell phone to make an audio and video recording of officers conducting an arrest on Boston Common in the fall 2007

  • Four days of rioting strains U.K. legal system

    The ongoing unrest in the United Kingdom has begun to strain the country’s criminal justice and law enforcement system; with police arresting hundreds of people over the last few days, local judges have had trouble keeping up with the case load and facilities have quickly become overcrowded

  • Record number of immigration bills introduced in 2011

    This year state lawmakers have introduced a record number of immigration bills and resolutions according to a new report by the National Conference of State Legislatures; so far in the first half of the year, state legislators have seen 1,592 immigration bills, 16 percent more than the same time period last year

  • Illinois cracks down on "storm chasers"

    In response to the series of severe storms and floods that struck Illinois, Governor Pat Quinn signed legislation to help protect homeowners as they rebuild; House Bill 3034 is aimed at protecting homeowners from “storm chasers,” contractors who take advantage of unsuspecting homeowners

  • Cybersecurity legislation passes House Committee

    Last week new cybersecurity legislation cleared its first obstacle passing through the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee; the bill would authorize the National Science Foundation and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to establish standards across federal agencies as well as research and education

  • DHS wastes billions in procurement process

    A recent DHS Inspector General report found that the agency had not leveraged its collective buying power thereby losing billions of dollars in potential cost savings; the report found that DHS’s various agencies individually bought $170 million worth of small x-ray machines, metal detectors, and hand-held radiation detectors rather than purchasing those items together, in a practice known as strategic sourcing.

  • FBI investigates News Corp. for potential 9/11 victim hacks

    Lawmakers in the United States have waded into the growing controversy that has engulfed Rupert Murdoch’s media empire; on Wednesday several Democratic senators and Representative Pete King (R-New York), requested that the FBI begin an investigation into whether News Corp. attempted to hack into the phones of 9/11 victims; in response to their calls, the FBI opened an investigation into News Corp. to determine if the allegations of bribery and wiretapping are true

  • Bill to allow DHS to seize authority over U.S. coastlines

    The House is currently considering a bill that would cede control of America’s coastlines to DHS; under the proposed National Security and Federal Lands Protection Act, the Secretary of the Interior would forfeit authority of all public coast lands to the Secretary of Homeland Security, whenever the DHS chief sees fit